Learn more about cyber threats on social networks

While social media can help companies increase brand awareness and engagement with the public, it also exposes users to the risk of opening up unsafe channels.

Jonas Walker, security strategist at FortiGuard Labs, warns community members about five social media cyber threats to protect against. These include:

  • Social engineering refers to a wide range of attacks that take advantage of human interaction and emotions to manipulate a target. Such attacks attempt to trick victims into divulging sensitive information or compromising company security.
  • In a phishing attack, usually via an email or online message, cybercriminals lure potential victims into clicking on a malicious link or opening a malicious attachment or entering sensitive information into a online form.
  • Malware, such as viruses, Trojans, spyware, and ransomware, are used by cybercriminals to gain access to devices and networks, steal data, and take control of systems.
  • Brand impersonation occurs when an individual or group tries to impersonate a highly respected company or brand to trick victims into providing confidential and valuable information that can be used by social engineers to hack into systems and networks.
  • Catfishing is when a person takes information or images from another to create a false identity in order to victimize an individual on a social media platform.

Walker suggests the following measures to prevent the public from falling victim to these security threats:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication, providing two or more authentication factors to access an app, account, or virtual private network.
  • Use a different password on each account to prevent accounts from being easily hacked.
  • Regularly update security settings on all platforms and set them to the strictest level.
  • Be discerning about the types of people you connect with on social media.


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